Monday, February 4, 2013

Culinary Adventures: Ragu Surprise

Friday night I put some finishing touches on a dish I've been experimenting with, and I think the recipe is finally ready to share with you all.  As you'll recall, one of my resolutions this year is to cook more meals from scratch- and I also want to create more recipes from scratch.  This first one was a success!

I'm not sure what to call this dish.  The obvious title is a turkey ragu, but you can make it with any number of ground meat- I wanted to use lamb but couldn't find any at the grocery store, and I made this once before with sausage.  Plus, there's a special ingredient in here that you wouldn't expect, so the title needs to be equally as special.  After he finished seconds, I asked Mr. Geek's opinion on what it should be called.

Butt-Face McGee's Special

That's what he thinks we should call it.  (We have interesting pet names for each other.)

I'm gonna go with Ragu Surprise- substitute in your own favorite ground meat or even mushrooms where I've used turkey, and be ready for a flavorful surprise :)

-olive oil
-ground meat
-salt and pepper, to taste
-3 garlic cloves, diced
-1 medium onion, diced
-1 C finely shredded carrot (approximately 2 carrots)
-1 15oz can tomato sauce
-1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
-2 tsp tomato paste
-1/8 C parsley
-1 Tbsp basil
-1/4 C pomegranate juice
-1 Tbsp sugar

-saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat; just as it starts to smell good...

-...add the onions and sweat them until they start to get translucent

-then add the shredded carrots

-pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and lower the heat a bit; let it simmer

photo unrelated lol

-while the sauce gets all warm and yummy, season the ground turkey (or whatever it is you're using) with salt and pepper, then brown it in a little bit of olive oil in a separate pan; keep an eye on it while you spice up the sauce and make sure it's good and brown before you call it done, especially if it's turkey

-add the parsley (yes, it looks like a lot, but it's worth it)

-add the basil (and enjoy how delicious it smells)

-here's the surprise part- pour in the pomegranate juice.  Just trust me on this.  Add the sugar to counterbalance the tartness.

-once the meat is fully cooked, add it to the sauce with a slotted spoon (to de-grease-ify it) and then stir it in

-put the lid on, turn the heat waaaay down, and simmer while you cook some pasta

This stuff is pretty delicious, I gotta say.  It took a little time to get the proportions right, and I might tweak them a little more the next time I make it.  The hard part about creating a recipe is quantifying what it takes to reach the right flavors; I had a notebook next to me, writing down amounts and scratching them out to correct them- 1 Tbsp of tomato paste became two when I decided it needed more.

What's your favorite meat sauce recipe?  Do you like to create dishes as you go or do you prefer the protection of a recipe?

Much love,
The Geeks


  1. The pomegranate juice definitely sounds interesting- but I'm totally willing to try it. Looks delicious!

    1. I was literally just pulling things out of my fridge and grabbed the little Pom bottle and thought- hmm, wonder what this would taste's subtle- the sugar balances out the tart- but you definitely find yourself thinking "hmm, something here is different- good different"